Jobless Claims Skyrocket As Tech Layoffs Mount

As the number of new claims for state unemployment benefits surged to their highest level since 1982 -- reaching 626,000 in January, the tech sector, too, is feeling the stress of the deteriorating economy. In technology, a number of large vendors and solution providers have had to eliminate positions and reduce headcount. Here are 25 companies that cut back last month.

Advanced Micro Devices will cut 1,100 jobs, slash employee salaries and suspend benefits in order to reduce costs in the weakening economy. That's a global workforce reduction of about 9 percent through a combination of attrition, the previously communicated divestiture of the handheld business and an additional headcount reduction of roughly 900 positions. Last year, the company laid off more than 2,000 employees.

After the engineering software maker issued a fourth-quarter estimate that fell short of Wall Street views, Autodesk said it would cut roughly 750 jobs. The restructuring aims to save Autodesk $130 million annually, starting in the fiscal year that began Feb. 1.

The staff cuts were CDW's first ever. The 190 workers, who were spread across the company's operations, account for just less than 3 percent of CDW's nearly 7,000 employees.

Citrix Systems will cut its worldwide workforce by 10 percent, after reporting its fourth-quarter results. The supplier of application delivery infrastructure technology saw sales deals contract or be delayed during the fourth quarter. Although Citrix reported generally solid sales and earnings results for the quarter ended Dec. 31, company executives said the adjustments are necessary due to the fluctuating global economy. The company did not disclose the exact number of employees that will lose their jobs.

Dell's cutbacks at its manufacturing plant in Limerick, Ireland, will result in nearly 2,000 workers losing their jobs. Production for that plant will be transferred to an existing facility in Poland and to third-party OEM partners. The layoffs are part of a $3 billion cost-reduction plan the computer manufacturer made public last year. Dell has had operations in Ireland for 18 years.

As part of a restructuring program, EMC will cut 2,400 employees, or approximately 7 percent of its workforce -- despite the storage vendor expecting moderate sales growth for its just-completed fourth quarter. The cutbacks would be made in its information infrastructure business, which includes the vendor's data storage systems, but would not include its VMware operations. The layoffs include reducing "management layers," EMC said in a statement.

Google will shutter several engineering offices and lose 100 recruiting jobs, in a reaction to the economic slowdown.

"Given the state of the economy, we recognized that we needed fewer people focused on hiring," Google Vice President Lazslo Bock wrote in a Google blog post. "Our first step to address this was to wind down almost all our contracts with external contractors and vendors providing recruiting services for Google. However, after much consideration, we have with great regret decided that we need to go further and reduce the overall size of our recruiting organization by approximately 100 positions."

Hitachi warned of a record $7.8 billion annual loss due to weak sales, a firmer yen and costs to restructure its operations. Such a loss would be the biggest ever by a Japanese manufacturing company. Roughly 7,000 jobs are rumored to be on the block.

Although IBM has acknowledged having layoffs, it has not disclosed how many jobs were actually cut. However, The Wall Street Journal reported that an "Employee Information Package" sent to affected workers last week listed 2,850 positions, without specifying names. At the end of 2008, IBM had more than 400,000 employees.

Intel will stop operating five of its manufacturing facilities this year in locations around the globe. The shutdowns will affect between 5,000 to 6,000 employees, or about 7 percent of its current workforce. The five plants will all be shut down by the end of 2009 to better align Intel with "current market conditions," according to Intel.

In a statement, Intel said, "The company plans to close two existing assembly test facilities in Penang, Malaysia, and one in Cavite, Philippines, and will halt production at Fab 20, an older 200mm wafer fabrication facility in Hillsboro, Ore. Additionally, wafer production operations will end at the D2 facility in Santa Clara, Calif."

The software developer is cutting 200 positions, or 5 percent of Intergraph's global work force of 4,000.

"Intergraph is taking prudent and responsible actions to reduce costs, improve efficiency and manage risk to assure our company's long-term prosperity," the company said in a prepared statement.

Lenovo will reduce its workforce by roughly 11 percent. The computer maker has also said it will be reducing executive compensation and restructuring. Pink slips will go to approximately 200 people in Toronto, where Lenovo will close a customer call center, as well as 250 people in the Raleigh, N.C., area, in the company's sales, marketing, support, services, engineering and design operations. Lenovo will, however, hire 100 people in the Raleigh area to accommodate a new customer call center being built there.

In response to sinking sales and profits, Logitech will slash 600 jobs. The peripherals giant said retail sales for the quarter sank 16 percent year-over-year, with sales down in the Americas by 21 percent. OEM sales fell 11 percent, while Logitech's fiscal third-quarter net profit plummeted 70 percent to $40 million compared to the same period a year ago.

"The deepening global recession had a significant impact on our operating performance as our customers continued to reduce inventory levels in the face of weaker consumer demand," said President and CEO Gerald Quindlen, in a statement released Monday.

Microsoft will cut a total of 5,000 employees in order to adjust the software giant's cost structure. The move will allow Microsoft to have the resources available to drive future profitable growth, according to the company. Positions at Microsoft will be eliminated in R&D, marketing, sales, finance, LCA, HR and IT, according to an internal Microsoft e-mail Steve Ballmer sent to employees. Of the projected 5,000 job cuts, approximately 1,400 were made last week. The balance will come over the next 18 months.

The equipment maker cut roughly 4,000 additional jobs -- approximately 6 percent of its workforce -- in January. Some 3,000 of those will be in the mobile devices side of the business, the company said. The remaining 1,000 will be in Motorola corporate and in other business units. The latest round of staff reductions would save about $700 million in 2009, and follow layoffs last fall of 3,000.

NEC will cut 20,000 jobs from its global workforce and look to divest itself completely from the industrial LCD side of its business. NEC's reduction will be complete by March 2010 and includes previously announced 1,200 layoffs from NEC Electronics, according to Reuters. News reports noted NEC units in Japan and abroad would be affected; at least half will be full-time positions. NEC employs more than 150,000 worldwide.

Oracle has reportedly cut approximately 500 jobs in North America last Friday, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal said the affected employees were in the company's software sales and consulting businesses in database management. The paper cited inside sources, although an Oracle spokesperson declined to comment. The world's No. 3 software maker has more than 85,000 employees.

SAP will cut 3,000 workers from its payroll during 2009 after the company reported a sharp drop in software sales during its fourth quarter. Executives at the ERP and CRM application developer will reduce its global workforce by 5.8 percent from 51,500 to 48,500 during 2009 through attrition and possible layoffs. According to SAP, that will provide an annual savings of approximately $398 million to $465 million.

Close to 3,000 people, or 6 percent of Seagate's global workforce, will lose their jobs in the next couple of months, the company said Wednesday in a regulatory filing. On Monday, Seagate revealed plans to lay off about 10 percent of its United States workforce, or close to 800 people. It has now expanded those plans to include broader layoffs, which affect its workers across the globe.

Roughly 75 Sophos employees will be affected by the security company's layoffs. The U.K.-based company employs about 1,500 people in all of its offices worldwide. The reduction was part of a reorganization to eliminate redundancy, which would ultimately shift some U.K.-based positions to the company's Boston office, according to a spokesperson.

Sun Microsystems began the elimination of 1,300 employees, following up on its November announcement to eliminate 5,000 to 6,000 employees, or 15 percent to 18 percent of its total workforce. The move is projected to save $700 million to $800 million annually.

The first round of layoffs includes vice presidents and directors, the company said in a statement. The majority of reductions in the U.S. and Canada should be completed by the end of this quarter. Currently, Sun has about 33,500 full-time employees.

Teradyne is cutting 532 -- 14 percent -- of its 3,800 employees worldwide, and reducing pay by 10 percent. Teradyne, the world's leading maker of equipment for testing microchips, recently reported a fourth-quarter loss and slower sales.

Texas Instruments will lay off some 3,400 employees, as it restructures operations following one of the worst sequential and year-over-year quarterly performances in the company's history. The analog and digital signal processor company saw net income in the December quarter drop 86 percent, to $107 million, or 8 cents per share, from $756 million, or 55 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Fourth-quarter revenue fell 30 percent from the preceding quarter and 26 percent from the same quarter of 2007.

In addition to its employment cuts, the manufacturer is delaying the construction of a fab in Yokkaichi until 2010. Toshiba is also postponing building another fab in Kitakami, based in northern Japan. Toshiba and its partner, SanDisk, announced the NAND flash fabs last year. In an effort to become profitable in 2010, Toshiba will cut its capital spending to $5.05 billion in fiscal 2008, down $2.2 billion from its original plan.

The U.K. will be among the hardest areas hit: Although roughly 4 percent of the solution provider's worldwide workforce will lose their jobs, the U.K. workforce is being cut by 7 percent.

"The decision reflects the difficult economic climate and is part of the company's ongoing efforts to narrow its business focus to what it does best, simplify its business model, and reduce its expenses to drive revenue and earnings growth," Unisys said in a statement.